Ex-internet tech specialist at toxicology center gets 18 months in fraud case

NORTH LITTLE ROCK -- A former internet technology specialist at the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health in North Little Rock was sentenced Thursday to 18 months in federal prison and was ordered to repay $562,501 he and another employee admitted earning through secret online sales of company-purchased tech products.

Chief U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall Jr. imposed the sentence on Daniel Thomas Burdick, 40, of Little Rock, who worked at the company from June 27, 2007, until he was fired on Nov. 5, 2017. He was the internet technology infrastructure and facilities specialist at the company, which monitors air quality during environmental cleanups and provides emergency responses in crises, among other things.

On Feb. 21, Burdick pleaded guilty to a charge of wire fraud conspiracy. He admitted that he and another man, both of whom were responsible for ordering new cellphones for employees and subcontractors, obtained new phones and tablets through a contract carrier and kept them for themselves.

Burdick and the other employee, Brian Terell Lamb of Little Rock, admitted that they then sold the equipment over the internet, taking in more than half a million dollars in profit all together between June 2013 and November 2017.

Both men were paid by customers through PayPal or Western Union, according to court documents. A plea agreement said they mailed the majority of the new devices to Oregon for eventual delivery to people in China.

At the time, Burdick was making an annual salary of $73,000 before bonuses, while Lamb was paid $65,000 to $70,000 with overtime, also before bonuses, as a LAN/desktop specialist. Lamb had worked at the company since Sept. 12, 2011, and was fired the same day as Burdick, according to court documents.

Lamb, who has also pleaded guilty to a wire fraud conspiracy charge, was scheduled to be sentenced Thursday after Burdick, but the hearing was postponed because his attorney was in another hearing at the same time.